Can Homeowner be Legally Forced to Belong to a Club Owned by a Private Company?

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“I live in a neighborhood that has both a HOA and a Member Equity Country Club . The neighborhood by-laws make it mandatory for homeowners to be at least a social member of the club. There are Gold and Swim/Tennis membership levels too. The club has been run by the developer and is scheduled to be turned over to the equity members December 31, 2011. This is what we all understood and agreed to, so no problem. We have had a transition committee engaged to manage the turnover that includes a deed of trust of $3,000,000. There is now high interest by Donald Trump to purchase our club. This would eliminate control by the equity members and pass it to Trump. He would pay the $3M tab (the club cost $32M to build), agree to upgrade facilities, which sounds attractive. The terms of the sale to Trump would include a mandate for homeowners to be a member of his club, similar to the member owned club, not so attractive. My issue is without any homeowner control, Donald the dictator would have full control. This is expected if it was optional to join a club, but how can anyone be mandated to be a member of a privately owned and run club? He could double or triple fees and everyone would have to comply without any recourse. The membership will be voting on this in December and I want to know if I as a homeowner can be legally forced to belong to a club owned by a private company?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I’m not aware of any reason why mandatory membership in an owner-run club would be permissible but mandatory membership in the same club would not just because the club was sold to a third party. However, laws differ, so it’s possible that your local laws do not allow such an arrangement. You would do well to consult with a local real estate attorney on this one.



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Author: House Attorney

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